tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN September 26, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EDT
all of these issues suspect including the group's over the history of the planet. and muslim extremism with the word is long associated with radicalism but to be respectful of their face but we cannot help but notice the people murdering people are doing so in the name of their faith. it pulls on a lot of us.mz i'm a muslim people who are wonderful people and i don't think but added to their life. but obviously they identify the islamicó; faith.
>> these are forums that we will be holding on a regular basis so today the secretary announced he wants do these on a quarterly basis. is that better? so we will be doing these on a quarterly basis. i won't be here for the next one in phoenix but we'll may go back to dayton i will be doing the one in ohio. i am recommending to ever comes behind me that we hold these out in the community and people will
be moving around the city of phoenix and then also they will be going to some of our outpatient cities where we have outpatient clinics in those areas. why do we start off if i can ask everyone to stand please and we will just have a moment of silence to send our thoughts to those that are fighting in the war on terror. all right, thank you. while we remain standing and join me in the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. all right, thank you. i also wanted to take a moment
and acknowledge it's the time of year when we think about our p.o.w. and m.i.a. veterans and i don't know if we have in a former p.o.w.s were family members here in the audience? do they want to stand? thank you. we will keep them in our thoughts. i am glenn cortie. for those of you that know me i am glenn cortie director of the dayton ohio va and i was asked to come to phoenix to help out for four months. i arrived july 9 and at the end of my two or will be the sixth of november. i was honored to be ousting tom to help lead the organization as we continue to move forward here in phoenix. i wanted to also thank our veterans that came out tonight. this is an important way for us to receive feedback and hear good things that we are doing as well as things that we need to do better and we are excited to hear your feedback.
i also wanted to thank the family members who support you and we know it's a labor of love to work with helping our veterans. i also want to thank our stakeholders because it does take a community of folks to work with all the needs we have for veterans and there are many things the va does but they're also things that be a can-do and we have a nice partnership here in phoenix with many of our stakeholders. i just want to thank them for their support. today was an example where we were briefing our congressional delegation and congresswoman -- office was showing us to wonder veterans resource guide that they have developed in partnership with the va and other organizations in the community to list all of the benefits that are available for veterans. those that are offered by the va, offered by the state, offered by the city and other non-profits so a very nice resource you should ask the congresswoman's office for her and she will make sure you get a copy.
we also invited folks from the other parts of the va here and i believe we have folks from the benefits office. the young lady here in the back. if you have any benefits questions, we are going to be having her try to address them either as a group of response or individually if you have those kinds of questions and also the national cemetery administration or service for those that honor veterans upon their death. anybody here from maghreb? we thought we'd have them here if we have any questions about honoring veterans at their death. i wanted to give you an update on things that have been going on here at the medical center and we will open it up for some questions and feedback. first of all is important for everybody to know that the access issues remain in a fixed condition. i don't know that's a right way to say that but basically we have solved the access problem and now we have provided the resources we need to assure we
are properly using the scheduling packages and the electronic wait list. so far over a thousand -- veterans have been contacted to want the care of the va in phoenix and we have been able to get them schedule then. we also have been working very hard on recommendations from the office of inspector general and of the 13 recommendations that were specific to phoenix, 10 have been corrected and were submitted in documentation to the ig to support removing those conditions from the report. i also wanted to make sure that everybody knew about the report. the igs report, that document is a response in writing to many of the concerns raised in the report. there's a lot of information about what phoenix has done in response to those findings. also this week here in washington providing chairman miller's house veterans affairs
committees information about the ig report and there was almost six hours of testimony which was really unprecedented and a lot of good information was shared with the hvac committee so i wanted to make sure the folks took the time to take a look at that on c-span. also our secretary mcdonald is working on a plan that he is going to be rolling out on veterans day. he's calling it the road to veterans day and every couple of weeks there are more and more initiatives that he is showcasing but we are all expecting to see a wonderful announcement of some good programs that he will be implementing on veterans day. we are also working on the veterans choice act that and we had a briefing on that this week. we are looking at early november probably around veterans day to be announcing some actions with that as far as how you use the ad in the choice cards and things of that nature. secretary mcdonald has also emphasizing a recommitment of all va employees do i care.
that stands for integrity commitment advocacy respect respect and excellence and we are personally recommitting ourselves to those values and trying to live that everyday here at phoenix. locally we have got some actions that will be happening in the fall. one will be the beginning of a valet parking system that we will have your november. this will help with a lot with the issue parking on campus and allow you to drop your car off have a cap safe for you and be delivered to you at the end of your visit. we also have a construction project that's going to begin, parking garage and that will begin in the fall as well and we are trying to these parking spaces in the community to help with that transition. hopefully we will have some remediation here. we also are working in the community on additional space for primary care. we hope to sign the interim this
month a lease in the scottsdale area, about a 70,000 square-foot building there that we are working hard on. we also have two other leases in the phoenix area totaling 50,000 square feet and in the first quarter of this coming fiscal year and we have opened him up in the spring and summer. we also have been the choice act of very large health care center a 300,000 square-foot health care center. there will be completed in probably 20 nineteenths am the meantime we wanted to try to move on some of these smaller leases to provide some help for the state's problems that we are having here. we also made progress on hiring additional providers for a patient align care teams. that's our primary care area. we now have for the first time in phoenix all of our primary care teams are staffed up and we have six additional teams that we have commitments for and arrival dates for positions --
positions that will be staffing a group as well so we are really doing a nice job with staffing areas for the area to provide the teams that we need to take care of our veterans. finally there has been a lot of concern about our staffing levels at our outpatient clinic and we are taking care of covering that clinic with providers we are sending from phoenix up to show low. we are using our telemedicine programs to provide support. we have one provider that has a commitment to start working there and also looking at other nurse practitioners to come to show low so we are making sure we are covering the veterans needs. there was a rumor about closing that clinic and i want to make sure everyone knows the clinic is open and we are staffing it appropriately. i also wanted to make sure everyone saw these comic cards. these are very helpful for me as i try to move the organization for it. i know some people are not comfortable getting in front of the audience and talking about
issues i wanted to offer an opportunity to give feedback and we will find a way to respond to directly to get your contact information about concerns you have or use them as a way of gauging the general feel of the needs that you all have as veterans. i want to turn it over to my acting public affairs officer to talk about some of the ground rules for today's session and then we will open it up for you to give us some feedback. >> good evening. i am the acting public affairs officer at the phoenix va medical center. just a few ground rules. it will be short simple and sweet. we have two microphones set up here. we would like folks to step up to the microphone. in the interest of time try to make statements as concise as possible. we will take comments and answers if we can get them tonight and if not we will be
getting the answers to you as soon as we can so the process will be one question from the left and one question from the right and we will see what we can do to get through this evening. any questions for me at this point or step up to the microphone. yes, sir. [inaudible] >> usually what happens is we have to set some sort of a time in a meeting. we are not restricted to an hour. as mr. cortie mentioned the good news is in the future these will be a regular recurring quarterly meeting at this facility throughout the va so some of the folks are starting to line up and we will start with questions. yes sir. >> on to say thank you for your efforts. i am sure everyone appreciates an honest effort here and there. my concern is i have been misdiagnosed.
i have waited long time to tell mine and i'll bet i'm telling some of your stories. i've been misdiagnosed many times in the years in and this hospital that almost resulted in my death. i am facing a situation right now where for at least two years they have diagnosed me as having pneumonia. all at once they say ocoee are going to look closer. after two years of this, oh you have end-stage cancer. i try to address this by going to the cancer center of america. they are doctors here are behind the times. their cancer doctors are so far behind they are not aware of a corporation called t. jan which is a genetic research for cancer treatment. when i asked about these new
treatments, the oncology doctors here laughed at me and said that's all garbage. i need, in my opinion i would like to meet very much at this critical time in my life right now, not next week, right now, i need a referral to the cancer center of america and anyone who is facing a situation like mine needs the same kind of referral. we don't have time. their motto around this hospital is okay i have a carotid artery that's narrowed. what do they do? we need to watch that. they haven't looked at it for five years. i have an aneurysm in my stomach. what are we going to do about it guys? we are going to watch that. so years and years of misdiagnosed and in adequate treatment has led me to this position right here tonight.
i am darned angry. i am darned angry and i would like a referral tonight. cancer treatment center of america has given me phone numbers and contacts that they said they would be more than willing to negotiate some kind of an agreement with the va. i have those numbers. does anyone hear me? thank you. [applause] >> i don't know if i got your name but we need to get your contact information so we can get with you and try to help you. if i could have one of the sta staff -- have you got that there are? that would be great. thank you sir. >> also on hand tonight we have a couple of our patient advocates and social workers that could help some of you
discussed some of the care, your personal care, your family members care. >> that is what the advocate does, cover stuff up. >> those folks are in the topaz clinic so if you would like to speak to a patient advocate or a social worker this evening we can arrange for that. we will go to the next question here. yes sir. >> good evening sir. i am an army veteran. i have a problem with the va on outsourcing. as you can see i have had neck surgery about a month and a half ago but it took a six-month wait to get that surgery with excruciating pain and many visits to our doctor. i went through this on july 28 and i'm having complications on my left side, the same things i have on my right. i saw my surgeon that was
outsourced to good sam just on tuesday and he ordered a c.a.t. scan with contrast so i started checking on this yesterday and today. my pcp doesn't have it. fee basis does matter. i called back to the doctor's office. they said it's in the processing center and they have up to 14 days to process it. i asked, why? for insurance verification and everything else. i said i'm outsourced from the va. it's a guaranteed payment. i can't give it to you so they'll have to wait. i go to the patient advocate. they could not do anything outside the va i'm told. the va outsourced me so if i have problems with being outsourced to another doctor or another hospital that va ought to be backing me up. i should not be the one running back and forth from the va to
this outsourced doctor for medications or anything else. i shouldn't be doing the legwork. our fee-based section has 30 given unsatisfactory -- about triwest. i was scheduled to go to barrels in the beginning and had everything set up but that rug was pulled out from under date me when i was told i had to go to triwest. so the choice of where we want to go as veterans is not there for us. it's not there. this outsourcing problem needs to be addressed and we need to be backed up. >> i agree with you. we have put the veteran in the middle of it rather than be an advocate for you. it should be one-stop shopping. it should be one call to the va and that's it instead of having it do all the legwork.
>> is going through triwest and the doctor is going to be obsessed -- outsourced from and you're sitting there and all you have to tear coming out of your eyes because you are in so much pain. i will admit and i'm proud of it that i may employee of the va. >> thank you sir. [applause] >> i am steven robert shakopee senior and i'm madder than hell. i asked for a biopsy for 18 months. it took my wife threatening a nurse practitioner with legal action to get that biopsy. your urology department tried to force treatment down my throat that would have killed me. the whole 18 months they treated me with antibiotics, high doses which gave me other health problems and they don't want to take care of it. they didn't want to pay the bill at the mayo for the right type of procedure for my cancer. i had a heart attack.
i waited 45 minutes on the phone for somebody to answer. they said call an ambulance. we will take care of it. they still haven't paid the bill. that was in 2010 and i'm madder than hell. i have another question. the urology department as it was were they taking kickbacks from radiation in chandler? i have had six people that have the same problem as me. also, why is sharon hellman still earning six figures on paid administrative leave? isn't it time to stop the clock? [applause] stopped the clock. that's all i have to say. [applause] >> do you think you can follow that?
>> i don't think i can follow that. my name is jake. on november 17, 2011 i came here to have my right rotator cuff repaired. during the procedure a surgeon encountered a solid tumor that he wasn't expecting to find. without my knowledge or consent he removed the entire tumor in one piece without first performing a biopsy. a tumor turned out to be benign meaning it didn't need to come out. unfortunately when he removed the tumor he caused a severe injury to my axillary nerve which prevents me now from lifting my right arm. after the procedure, the surgeon refused to acknowledge the injury. he refused to order any test and he refused to make any referrals. i saw three nerve repair specialists outside the va at my own expense and they all agreed
that the injury could not be repaired. we sense the slides of the tumor to ucla were where the chief of pathology found the nerve embedded in the tumor. this injury destroyed my own career as an orthopedic spine surgeon. i filed a claim for economic damages but your regional council sat on my claim for six months and then sent me a denial letter telling me that my current disability is my own fault. i then filed a lawsuit under the federal tort claims act and the assistant u.s. attorney who was assigned to defend the va has done nothing but attack me personally and professionally for the past year. meanwhile, the surgeon who did this has escaped scrutiny. at the time of my surgery he was a part-time employee working here one day a week. earlier this year the va
rewarded him with a full-time job. so i have two questions for you. first, what are you doing about the inadequate care of this facility? wait times mean nothing if the person you are going to see is going to maim or kill you and second -- [applause] second, what are you doing about the process that veterans have to go through when they are injured at the va because congress did not pass the federal tort claims act so that veterans who are injured at va hospitals can be further victimized by your regional council and members of the u.s. attorney's office. >> thank you. [applause] >> i don't think i can do better than that. i have a situation here that kind of blends between here and
claims. i have been bounced back and forth. turn up the volume, will you? i hate this thing. is it on? it's got to be. anyhow i have been bounced back and forth. i came in here, i came in here to the facility with a claim form and i don't want to get anybody in trouble here. it's not my intent to get anybody in trouble but i have been bounced back and forth between the hospital here and barrow neurological and all i keep doing is getting nowhere and they keep coming back. they want to have a test. no we are not sure, we have to have a test. the law -- the last test i got, i happened to look it up him wine and what is it due? it does nothing. how much did it cost the va? how much did it cost everybody here?
it cost everybody here are shot in my armor $3000. radioactive iodine. what happened was that shot? on the nod note for me to get that shot, i was informed that i am claustrophobic and i cannot lay down for a half-hour or 45 minutes motionless on the table. i need a sedative. guess what? nobody signed the thing. where do you think that $3000 shot went? white down the toilet and where am i? write-down the toilet with it because i'm no closer to getting my claim satisfied. i want to have if it's possible get a referral out of the situation to mayo clinic. i'm tired of bouncing around between here and barrow. i'm not saying barrow is not good and not saying it's not good here but this is getting crazy. i'm two years on this now. not as long as some people but it's getting old.
it's getting old. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. are we going to be able to get his information and? we will get back with you sir. >> hello sir. i want to thank you for coming tonight because the best way to solve the problem is face-to-face with the veterans. i come here tonight to stop one of the abusive policies that's causing veterans to commit suicide and killing veterans. veterans in an abusive situation and with a pack team, doesn't matter if the pack team leaders are abusing the patient or of the nurses are abusing the patient and it doesn't matter if the doctors are abusing the patient. any of those three can cause a patient hell and can you require a veteran to wait 90 days before he can switch to another provider and you assign him another provider for a whole year that means they are going to get abuse or greater than the one they left and they will be stuck for a whole year without abuser. this policy in memo hc 02
started by sharon hellman, the police queen. we all know her right thing. but the whole thing is i know a lot of veterans and they are all suffering because they are being thrown through hoops and stuff like that in order to get the treatment they really need. i know of veteran that has a brain tumor. they are doing everything but getting an mri for two years. i think the last time they had them doing a sewing class so he could get the mri. now he has a brain tumor that they can't trade in his losing his eyesight in these losing his hearing. these scams are making veterans wait 30 to 90 days to switch from abusive doctors and it's not right. this is why veterans are committing suicide because they are stuck in abusive situations. don't get me wrong, there are a
lot of good doctors and a lot of good nurses here and a lot of good pack teams here but the abusers here are the teflon abusers because they have -- the people in the veterans administration who cover up the situation. i know the fbi is looking at this and i know the fbi is covering this up because i have been on the fbi's case for many years. they are trying to stop these deaths at the va. i know what i'm talking about because i thought corruption in the united states government and i united states government nipp and as his government and the supreme court. i know the cover-up is going down. they are swiping and deleting my information. i can give her my information. they stole it out of my files. this is going on. i don't know if you come in the fbi, the cia, the nsa i could care less, you have to stop this nonsense. let me say something about the patient's advocate. they are overworked and
understaffed. they do the same job month after month after month. they send all the complaints to the director and which the director director ignores other patient advocates have to do the same job month after month after month. for some reason they don't want to change that situation or do anything about it. so we suffer and continue to suffer. if you could do something about this policy to allow veterans to change their abusive providers instead of being stuck with a provider for 90 days with no medication, which kills veterans and a lot of them commit suicide because they see no way out. also just tried in 90 days without your medication and see how many veterans die from that. >> is that the actual policy that you are reading from? can i see that? >> i got a copy for everybody. i will give it to you. thank you.
is the inspector general here tonight. >> no, no. >> yeah, well let me just make one last comment. the inspector general -- says no veteran is dying from time to laze from getting their medication. no veteran is dying from the misdiagnosed or late diagnosed or whatever diagnosed but it seems very strange to me that the media, the propaganda parents say that the whistleblowers are wrong. the whistleblowers are not wrong. in fact they underestimated the number of deaths. [applause] that's all they want is a fair deal. we serve their country. that's all we want, not to be served by tough line of users who have no worries about losing their jobs no matter what type of abuse they do to the patient. this is a setup like i said. he may have the best doctor in
the world. if you have an abusive pack team you are still screwed because by the time he gets from the pack team to the doctor it's a 180-degree change of story and then they send you down to the mental health department because they think you're crazy. [applause] [inaudible] >> you said it better than i did. now the situation is, we can't keep on doing this. it's just got to stop. it's why veterans are so frustrated here tonight. they come here and they tell you and nothing happens. so i suggest you take a patient advocates office, double it and then triple it and then quadruple the patient advocacy office.
they don't have a chance. if you could pass on a message to the inspector general, tell him and i think i speak for a lot of people here, the inspector general has his head so far up his but he is looking at the world through his p. hole. thank you so much for talking to us. [applause] >> thank you. >> i see despite the scandal that we haven't lost her sense of humor. i don't dispute that at all. is there a ms. karen craig here? is karen craig here? no? okay. on thursday september 4, 2014 at 10:46 a.m. a message was sent
for ms. craig on your behalf mr. cortie to exchange users. i'm assuming that's all hands within the va. the subject of this e-mail that was sent out on your behalf is called message from the interim director. more of the rest of the story. "washington post" overblown claims of deaths from waiting times at the va sent on behalf of mr. cortie to the va health care system staff. i wanted to share the story with you from the "washington post." it's nice to see more the facts are getting out into the media. it is a "washington post" fact check article which was actually just recently itself fact checked and proven incorrect by the house va committee that proceeds to bash members of congress that basically came out and brought to light the scandal at this facility and includes my
former employer represented david schweikert. along with publicans and democrats. as a bipartisan affair. fortunately the va committee and the fine representatives they have pretty much demolished that hearing. exactly. about a week ago, about a week ago today there was an incident where there was an e-mail sent from this facility that was leaked to the press with private patient information on a veteran committed suicide that use this facility. you have the ig report that dr. sam foote and dr. mitchell called a whitewash with this one statement in their and then you
have other statements were not only other va facilities that would seem to indicate that many within the va think that this scandal was overblown. you know based on the e-mail that was sent on your behalf, do you think that our congressional reps who have representatives here, do you think they got out in front of the media and over blew the scandal? thank you think that they misled and lied because it would seem from this e-mail that you are implying that. do you believe that? >> no, i believe the ig report found really important issues and challenges for the phoenix va and we are working on fixing them and looking for. >> why are the staff members here trying to undermine the congressional representatives? just so you all know there is another investigation of this fine facility at the hip of violation. why do staff members here try to undermine our congressional representatives?
won't answer its? okay, got it. might as well just talked to the wall. have a good evening. [applause] >> yes sir, how are you doing. william quayle and i'm a vietnam vet and what this whole thing is about is disrespect of the people. last month they cancel that thing and they didn't tell anybody. i drove 55 miles and i'm glad i didn't live where you live. the whole thing is you get the frustration and so foreign to people. that's why we kill ourselves, because we don't know who "the hill" to kill and this whole facility like i say, this young lady over here you maam, yes. the bureaucratic part of the va. they don't help you. you turn in the thing and if it's wrong they don't say oh
sent it back. you have to send in this. they wait for 425 days. then you get a thing insufficient evidence and if you don't find somebody that knows to tell you, you re-enter and you sit there forever. i mean that's the whole bureaucracy. if you get a paper on your desk that says you need this and this and it's not there, why wait two years? and that's all they do. if you want us dead, tell us. we will blow our brains out but it's disrespectful and the whole god thing place, we are people that were taught to make ourselves hard. we make ourselves hard and then you walk into the va you go, you get your post-traumatic stress interview and they go at the upper thought about killing yourself? oh yeah many times all the time. when it's time to go i will go but then he goes to jamaica
plan? no so you change the subject instead of saying do you have mental health, did you see anybody? the whole thing is they just want to keep their job and as long as they have us that's their job. this facility when you gentlemen, girls and ladies walk in here, when you walk into this place we all feel at home because we thought we were walking onto a military base. but you are with military veterans that you are in a bureaucracy. i mean it's just you know, if we don't save this thing now when we still have a lot of veterans, god help the young kids when they come back because they are going to have a lot of tours of duty but not a lot of people. the politicians are going to go, you can't do anything for me, son. so god bless america. [applause] >> my name is howard rice and i'm a korean veteran and i had
combat missions. the reason i'm curious i do not understand how they work benefits in this va. i tried to help an awful lot of people to get benefits and i have an afro-american gentleman who's in the hospital right now. the guy was in korea. he was supposed to get its benefits and base told him we need this and we need that. you can't go back 65 years. the guy got frostbitten and everything done to him and i just don't think it's right. i know i'm here and i made a move to come because he can't even come down here. he just got out of the hospital. his name is will robinson and i'm really upset that the va has to take this -- and i also found out the va here doesn't do anything. i'd rather go to the dav. at least they do something over there for you. but they don't do it here and that's it. i got a better reaction down there within two months than i did here in six months. the only thing i will say is i had cancer surgery and it ran
$18,000 they didn't keep me but i have to wait long enough until i finally got it done. i don't have a lot to complain about. there are people here that probably have a lot more. i'm trying to get something for unemployed ability and i've been waiting two years to get this for a lousy 10%. now i don't know if you guys have ever been on a carrier or not and i'm telling you what, came back here and i told the doctor you're my hearing is really getting kind of bad. he says well let me give you a hearing test. he gives me the hearing test and he says you hear fine. i said wow wait a minute. have you ever been on a carrier gonick catapult crew when the jet takes off? i will blow your ears out so don't tell me what i'm doing with my ears. he said i'm sorry we will give you a hearing aid. i set out need a hearing aid i needed compensation for what i did. i fought and finally ended up with 90% and i want that 10% and
i'm unemployable now. if you think you can get a job at 82, forget it. [applause] >> thank you. >> good evening. united states armor -- army 83 to 86. i'm not sure if the media is aware that every year millions of men and women veterans are denied health care because their income exceeds the threshold established by the va. so can you tell me what is being done currently to ensure that millions of veterans and priority groups seven and eight received the health care they were promised when they swore to defend their country? >> yes, i know the priority groups six, seven and eight the ability for us to treat those groups is really based on congressional laws that are passed. the president signs them and implement them. i don't doubt there's anything going on right now for the
veterans that are in those higher income brackets to try to bring more care to them. i can try to find out. >> that would be great. >> i don't know if there's anything happening right now. i know there are some coming in for some veterans. >> 37,000 combined income in phoenix. if you make more than 37,000 you don't get what you were promised. >> i will need to get some follow-up. i really don't know what they are doing about that right now. >> thank you. >> by name is ted and i appreciate you having this meeting here with everyone that's in this room. first of all i want to say that
i have been to other meetings and i keep hearing the same thing. the suffering and the pain and as long as all these vets are having these issues we are going to keep complaining. when he we joined our military ranks of service we took an oath to take care of this country and this is all that we want is the va to take care of us. that's not asking a whole lot. [applause] the other issue is this. listen to this. when all of you go home today, look up bonus in your dictionary. look it up. if the government award to a veteran. hey, that's us. why on earth are they giving bonuses to people that are not taking care of us? if they can provide a service they shouldn't be getting a bonus. for what?
and the people above them that are covering for them, there are too many pinocchio's out there covering each other. you can't hide the truth. you can have these meetings and you will keep appearing the same things. as long as they are getting these bonuses, look at us. just look at us. look it up in the dictionary and see what it tells you. thanks. >> thank you sir. [applause] >> good evening. my name is bob ansell and i was in the united states navy on an aircraft carrier. i was a third class petty officer. i've been coming to the va medical center for 33 years. in the 80s things were slow but you still got care. it took a little while. all that changed when this new wing was built onto the old building in the parking lot was vastly enlarged. then the staff had the room, the tools and the resources to be
organized and enough to deliver the outstanding care all the veterans enjoy today. when i had to go to a different emergency room they helped me financially. when i got a favorite team of specialist put me in an mri machine and they came back and said they thought i had lung tumors that they said they merely had damage to my lungs from valley fever. when i broke bones they were there for me. when i was in terrible pain they were here for me. when i was suicidal they gave me mental health and medications. the times i came here dying, they saved my life. very often over the years i have seen -- all i want to say is if you walk the walls of this hospital, watch and talk to the
workers, doctors and administration here nowhere else will you find a more positive, caring and truly truly dedicated team of caregivers are you perhaps nowhere else in this country -- i just had to come up here today and tell the truth about this than i have. [applause] >> thank you sir. >> nothing like having flashbacks because over the period of time that i have come to the va post here, tucson and through the satellite clinic in prescott is nothing but a nightmare. let me explain. the only way to understand music let me write a book and let you read it because i have seen laws broken. little children did my blood sugar here and that's why i kept coming here. tucson is a diabetic didn't turn
me away but wouldn't give me test strips because i had doctor down there in tucson wanted to put me on pills. i almost died of a brain tumor, misdiagnosed me. i almost died -- not the only thing that's helped me is going to outside doctors and having to pay for it myself. one of the best doctors on the planet here, dr. roger wilcox was a thoracic heart surgeon who saved my life because of what happened in vietnam that i never got anything for. i'm a vietnam veteran marine corps 65 to 69 in vietnam. the sixth of september i almost died simply because of the care the va was not giving me. what happened was dr. wilcox at a private practice, i get every
once in a while and i'm 100% service connected, get these so gross that pop up in different places all over my body. i had another friend of mine who was in the army. he said phoenix police detecti detective. we go to church at the same place and he had asked me this one time, do you ever have the things that look like a boil and it comes out looking like a little sausage and? i said i had one before i got other marine corps. it grew in my nose and i thought i was going to die. he said well, i have this too. that's about the same time they started come up when you lose weight -- wait they start coming out in the fatty cells of your body. one of these growing in my leg. i thought well i'm not going to the va because if i go to the va i will bleed to death. i have had them pop and the whole side of my body, they have
to be surgically removed. i saw had another one on my leg so i figured well i have to take this stuff to the dump in the city where i live and i'm going to go to john c. lincoln emergency and have them look at it. when i got there i told them what it was. most people don't know about this kind of thing. he said lamy take a blood test. so he took a blood test and he said man, here's what you are going to have to do. i said what? he was upset. i started getting upset because he was upset. he says you are going to have to go to the hospital now. i said i'm in the hospital. he said nope this is just emergency. it's either sierra valley or sunnyslope. i said what's the matter? he said your kidneys had shut down. my kidneys had shut down. it all started when you're a diabetic and you have infection, your diabetes, your blood sugar
doesn't balance. for for almost five years prescott va kept sidestepping this whole issue until it became antibiotic resistance which means there are two destinies on me now. one is my diabetes and i want this to be heard by everybody witnessed. i almost died because like this one gentleman was talking about going from one to another, 90 days the first one wasn't doing anything so i wanted to go to another one. 95 days later when i talked to her she said you don't do protocols because that's not what they were doing. a simple urinary tract infection is going to cost me my life with diabetes. that's what happened with the situation in the hospital. then i found out matt foreman for diabetes and a heart medication or the blood pressure medication, i forget what it is. anyway according to the book and they gave me the information for me to see what they were so i've got it written down the worst
things to give a person with kidney problems. it all started from a simple urinary tract infection and they wanted to emphasize that it's your diabetes we have to take care of. and once we do that than we have to get your weight off. i've already lost almost 140 pounds. i've lost all my muscle mass. i can hardly walk. my buddies had to push me here. i go to a bike show somewhere in westborough and i have to find a way to get there. i can't walk. i can't do squat. i'm luckier than most guys, to get that so that's what i can fall on. right now i'm using my medicare but i have to pay for my own medication. my question is instead of talking on deaf ears i understand that i can get outside care at the va can pay for because i refuse. this is the last time i'll ever
be in the va because i've been doing this since 1972 and all they have done is screwed me up and it almost cost me my life, major times, two times. i want to know without me just saying this i want somebody to get hold of me and tell me. i have one patient advocate liz, she hasn't gotten back with me. i think that's her name. to be able to talk to me and tell me is this possible or what do i have to do what do i have to sell my house, finish up my will and kiss my own goodbye? what have i got to do? >> we will call you and give you some information. >> anytime that has ever been happened i've been lied to, every time. every time. this thing about waiting. i've been waiting and i told her not going to see you. the biggest problem in this hospital and this goes from the clerk to medical, they do not do ama protocols, period.
that's the biggest problem. all medical centers do the same thing. in tucson you get the head of the university down there that runs all the stuff that he does they are working with the va wouldn't take me off my test strips and i got a thing there that said test your blood. i walked in there with my blood sugar at 7:38 in the morning because i refuse to come here. i thought they could help it i walked out with my blood sugar still at 600 the clerk, i don't know why they had them in the waiting room walking around. my wife was with me. she's a witness to it. she was really bored and suicide. the clerk was there and you know when you are 100% and your wife is -- gets champ va. they twisted va. he twisted around were on the dependent she's a veteran and i lost my records and then i couldn't do nothing. i walk out with 600.
i should've been dead. i had to go to the civilian hospital to stay alive. i want to know if i can get outside help and let the va pay for because they are not going to do anything here. >> let us get your contact information we will get the information you need. i don't think that's lying. >> is going to kill me if i have to keep paying my own medication. my life is in your hands and the only way you're going to kill me is by not doing anything for me. i have another belief system too. i'm not going to die and tell god wants me. >> absolutely. >> there's nothing you can do to kill me until it's my time, my turn. [applause] >> get as your contact information and we will get you the information. >> my name is matt and i was a combat medic in afghanistan. i was in the army from 2008 until late 2012. it took me two years after i got up to get an appointment. i'm just curious, the general
reason the whole va is in trouble is because you have the secret waiting list. in my relatively correct? >> right. >> that is because you are putting people on the secret waiting list because there are too many people and not enough providers, relatively correct? something like that? >> correct. >> i came here june of this year and i got seen for three minutes via doctor. he didn't ask me a single question about service related disability and i got a letter in the melting my disability was cut in half. it asked me about my mental health issues. they spent three minutes saying hey what's up. being disrespectful and then sent me on my way. since i got out of the army my wife left me in a move back with my parents and i can get a job. i couldn't get a job for the longest time but telling them that made them think that my issues were all better. they scheduled me, living gilbert and they scheduled me for a primary care provider appointment in late augus
i get a phonecall saying it's been canceled and they scheduled me in september. i get a postcard saying it's been canceled and i get one in early october. i get a postcard saying it's been canceled so i start calli calling. surprisingly i can get a single human on the phone. i can get an operator who i'm sure has been caused out more than anybody on this planet because she's the only point of contact with the human. i finally decided to screw it i'm going to the clinic. i walk in and tell them up head for canceled appointments because it does want to talk to someone. after walking and they told me go ahead and talk to this guy over here. he spent an hour answering phones. don't you think it's a little ironic the reason i had to go to a clinic to talk to someone was because i couldn't get anyone on the phone and i had to wait for an hour for a guy to stop answering the phone? they wouldn't even give me his phone number. so i get talking with one of the zevita people they told me i
canceled all of my appointments. i have canceled five appointments and here i am? so i'm curious, you guys got in trouble because you are not making appointments are putting people on these bogus list but now you're being open about it and doing the same thing of making the patient's canceled limits themselves. the only reason they i got tears because i went down and raise hell. i wasn't going to leave unless i had handcuffs or had an appointment today was my planet and they said december won't work? so they give me in the very next day. [laughter] >> there's no rhythm here and i finally got to talk to a doctor who couldn't speak english. i have nothing against immigration but i could understand him. i know of a couple of things about medicine surprisingly, i was enlisted whatever. she was telling me supplements that are proven scientifically accepted by every medical society in the world she's told me they would rot my kidneys. she does know the first thing
about medicine i have to put my life in our hands? these guys go to clown college and they come here and work for you guys. it's absolutely insane. [applause] thank you. >> my name is brenda lawler. i served my country very proudly as a firefighter emt in the united states air force. [applause] it seems we have a problem with this va in prescott. i was at the press get va facility. i was kicked out of there for not being suited for the place, and not even a week later i was brutally raped and beaten. i was the third veteran he did this too. unacceptable i think.
unacceptable. i was sent down here. unacceptable. for being? i got the air force accommodation medal in korea. they sent me to korea after my 17-year-old brother was killed in sedona arizona, my hometown. [applause] >> my name is martin ridgeway and man i don't know where to begin. it's been a comedy of errors for quite a while but i will just start with my most recent interactions with the va. this is all sense the new va since all this came to light and we ain't screwing with you no more.
sunday night i'm feeling pretty down so i called the crisis line or the guy talks to me and he was a nice guy and everything and he talked me off the ledge and said okay somebody from the phoenix va is going to to contact you tomorrow. thank you sir. i hang up the phone and i wait all day, all day. at 2:30 i start calling the jade opal clinic because nobody has gotten back to me. and it's busy, busy, busy until 3:30 and manages rings until it goes to a busy signal which means we are just cutting you off, screw you go away. so i call crisis line back because now i'm a little upset. i call the crisis line and he puts me on hold. yes, i am that guy, 11 minutes. i was ready to hang up when someone finally answered.
far to tell everybody you go on facebook and an to the veterans affairs page and use search market -- my name you will see the post by want everybody to know that if and when that time comes i commit suicide it is his fault and it is his fall and this hospital's faults. jeff flake and john mccain and whenever the other guy's name is, everybody i have reached out to to with all the stand-downs' and town hall meetings everything else, they have bloomy off4oz or pass me to the next person. even when i went back because kristin has her deal
how she wants to help people and don't commit suicide. i sent her a personal message. here is the deal i have problems. reducing anybody got back to me? know they did not. i andrew stands it is not necessarily v.a. but they are people they can hear me. want them to have already told my family. i already started making my a getting my affairs in order. when i call them during that time i said i need to speak to a privacy officer because there are things in my record headed is illegal according to arizona law.
and i just want to get it cleared up. guess what? that has not happened. i called and left messages with advocates i finally saw one. but i believe she sent a message to the privacy officers. never heard back nothing from them. that was on sunday. my initial call that i need help. >> my past -- this past sunday? >>. [laughter] no. this was about four weeks ago. that was sunday night. friday afternoon somebody finally called me to schedule an appointment to see the nurse next week. really?
one week? and the doctor five weeks from now. what do you say to that? the beauty of that is then to say you come back on this day and see me at the same month. it is really sad. i posted several but one that i made someone from the crisis line actually did call me back. just to make sure i was okay. but that is as far as it goes. everything is pure lip
service. everyone says we will help you. and everywhere i go all these web sites, and millions and millions of dollars wasted because when i go on there they say we will try this then you go to those agencies we don't have any money comes c.s. and a couple of months after the new year. that is not acceptable. housing for homeless veterans? come back in a couple months after the fiscal year when we have money? that is not acceptable. there is the lack of legitimate services here at the v.a. the biggest problem that i have. i a diabetic and i have had
problems controlling my sugar but there is a clinic who calls me fairly regularly to follow what. this is the first one that has ever done that when i go to the diabetic clinic they say you are noncompliant. get the fuck out. i forget things and things slide under the carpet but she calls and reminds me to keep me on track. now my blood sugar -- sugar is more in control. wide as one person care? that is the problem. how many have i dealt with in the last month? i have one person that says i am here for you i will help you and i will call you
and does. because i come to the stand down and the town hall everybody says we will help you then the next one the same people or the same organizations say we will help you out and follow up deal know what they do? nothing. you never hear from them again. "groundhog day." exactly. they called me because i and increases they've won five weeks i say i cannot make my day appointments they'd say the next one is after that. that is not a recipe for success.
at one point in time i didn't feel i was being treated appropriately for my situation. said dr. that i had was not an expert and he said so himself. i said okay. next. they gave me another doctor. do you know, about this? i have treated some people with that. that is not good enough. i no way more than you do. i know more about my illness that you get paid to treat me that is an issue. i had half pharmacist at the clinic get a angry withç.rc÷ me to tell me a was doctor
shopping and i said if you had a heart disease you can into my office and i told you it is because you are fat and you did it yourself i will not give you medication. would you be doctor shopping? she tells me we will put you on this medication but it makes me suicidal i cannot beyond that. she says it does not depression. and gets into an argument with me. so she calls security. my psychiatrist brings me into her office bless her heart. then i go home and print out everything i can find.
the first place i went is the home page and everybody has the smart phone. is a big black box guess what that#iz(ñ is? fda warning it is known to cause suicidal thoughts in adolescents know it does not cause depression. really? where do we get these people? where do we get these people? that person should not be in charge of any care especially mental health. she does not even know mental-health drugs or the side effects.zc1m5b that is just wrong. i was the bad guy? when we call to get help you cannot get help from patient
advocates. they listen but that is as far as it has gone. it is a sad state of affairs. what you going to do about it? one of the issues that i do have and i understand you were not the claims department however it isw9t still veterans affairs administration if there is something you cannot do about it his boss could and i would climb the ladder. why do we screw with these people? to trust and>u believe i believe in my heart it cost the v.a. as much every month
unemployment benefits than it does just to pay them. they will pay than in the end but everybody says you only have a couple more years to wait. and that was from the travel board july 23rd. when asked when i could expect my decision she said you are lucky you saw us this soon. i am lucky? [laughter] no, no, no. you have a young clientm'f>ñ all the appeals are four years old your's is only two years old so you will get my decision in a year or two. what? i am sitting across from you. you have my file. you have no questions youv8 should be able to look me in the eye to say yes or no or
send it back for further review. >> it will be about six more years. >> these are people speaking from experience. it is not like we make this up. on the same token when we do call to say we need help they say talk to the social worker that does not mean that i got help. it means i talk to somebody. they use that against me with the claim. you have some treatments. i did. i cannot afford to continue but i cannot afford the $250 per month to continue to get my treatments at the same
time you will twists that we have our doctors and psychologists= ñf i can show you with my medical records stating things in such a way to help us to not to get the claim or the claims department. i told this to everybody it is not that i can work maybe one or two days i could i just don't know when they are. that is the problem. if you hired me and i cannot come to work and i cannot leave my house for one week usually it'll call anybody for the first three or four days.
i hope next week has been good you will say have a good day and that is the problem. it is hard to find a job and treated ptsd lead to drug and no prisono1ef and all that shit. i am not trying to go back there but anything and everything is used against me you say you feel better? today. bet is the another issue did not take into consideratione i'm is 30 percent of my appointments. would get up they say you're always on time when they
denied my claim. can you punch up my appointments? i'm not a math genius but that looks like about a 30% this. why? i can make it not because i don't want to. thank you. [applause] senate to of our brothers could not make it tonight.g=>÷ i wrapped and afghanistan bet he was on the high dose of morphine he tookw off and died of the hartack of
rather that medic take care of me that and the v.a. you try to kill me over and over and i am not going away. [applause] i have a long battle. i impressed and crawford i am the disabled veteran former green beret army ranger and police detective. i have spent my whole life is service to my people and founder of a veterans nonprofit called warriors in recovery. and the huge veterans advocate in the fight is not over when we get home but has just begun. one year ago today was homelessá'
>> >> during this time i met a number of veterans who could help me out. one became a dear friend. he said the spot on my ar is cancer and i discovered that immunizations cause cancer. i use of their peace and it went away but the v.a. had him listed three times deadly here he stands as a survivor. veterans once stood up for this great nation it is time
to stand up again. if i leave here tonight and i run a stop sign there is a good chance campbell get a speeding ticket but while our leaders disobey the law as the house bill 2020 with the flag says it shall be displayed in the locations provided at half staff because of member of the united states of the armed forces. is pursuing touche subsequent to section the state capitol building. is serves as a local and superior court in the county the building city or town hall. notwithstanding any other block with a single staff to be displayed under the pow flag i bet half of you do
not know honor and remember flight is. our congressmen and senators house bill 2020. i have proof and documentation everything i say is true the last time i came to a town hall rally they were seen if i was not. enough is enough we need to band together to get back on track. i have found out there was the class-action lawsuit. it turns out it is lsd but they make us drug addicts when we get in the service then you come back here you make us feel bad about it. it is time for the veterans to stand up to get something
done you just want to kill us from the number one you will not stop until we are dead but we're not going away we are here to stay. [applause] >> i am not a veteran but i have a stepfather and a father in the military and also of life to someone in the military i have been around my whole life now i cannot understand why they're waiting so long. my step the other needs surgery he is that 60 percent they said once he has surgery then he can get 100 he can barely walk right now. then another has an appeal that has been waiting since
2009 agent code 82 '02 six her name is sandy out of utah we call the arizona office utah would call us back because the lines were so busy we don't want to lose our place in line and he did not want to hold the phone to his your 20 minutes they called back one hour later. she told us the wait time on his appeal is 893 days. i think he has done in those days already on the web site 465. which is correct? he called last week to check up to see about his claim and they told him you are denied twice for surgery. he has been knocked the net
for surgery but secondary on his right side they keep telling him we paid you for that know you paid for the left but not right but it is not service related but both legs are connected to his body. it is service related. [laughter] and he goes to a happy person but is someone says the wrong thing he is ready to kill them. i had to get on the phone so he would not get so frustrated yesterday but now. to see my dad getting 10 percent they ticket back from him. he is still disabled. 10% for getting stabbed and he did time in the marines and the navy? something is wrong with the
system. ic the other side when they are at home. they cannot get the things that they need i went with my elbow and his caseworker to get his medical records the doctor told him i will not give the medication until you tell the doctor you will not see him and he will not treat you he will not give you medication and i will not be there what does that do? he is still in pain. being x military wife they give people motrin that does nothing and some get ibuprofen. he cannot sleep at night walking around in a haze but they take the brunt because they come here get no help
and come home passed off. now i and his job and somebody needs to do something about this my dad and stepdad and uncle. now here is a lot of people. says more people have to die before anything is done? 893 days? he has done his time somebody needs to look get your appeal from 2009. >> [applause] >> i have a statement. i have been a disabled veteran 24 years from florida and ohio and pennsylvania now phoenix. i will read my statement first. there are two kinds of people in this world the first of those who believe that service to others than
the second tied to only believe in service to self. a person in the group of service touche self while she was collecting bonuses i was one of them. she is currently on paid administrative leave how can we trust the v.a. system when you reward a person who purposely harmed us for many? to build trust we have to go to the source that caused the mistrust to stop funding sharon holman. [applause] i'm here to support past veterans we hold the power to change things. if we don't make these changes future generations your sons and grandchildren will be treated the same way.
i pray we make positive changes today to work together to ensure all veterans less -- listen to and are taken care of. it did not make the necessary that sets some -- steps then we take back the power in a peaceful way. [applause] >> here are some examples of might care. >> congestive heart failure. they gave me my last rites. my doctor said if you move for she will die. v.a. said move her to cleveland and never received medical